God’s primary agenda in the life of a believer is to conform the child into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. No other word sums up His character in relationship to us like the word “forgiving”. The familiar verse taken from John 3:16 quotes, “For God so love the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loves His creation so dearly that He is willing to provide a way for amendments to be made, to forgive and redeem us through His own Son.
We never look more like Christ than when we forgive. Unparalleled joy and victory come from allowing Christ to do the unyielding thing with us. For many, perhaps nothing is more difficult than forgiving another. Forgiveness is our determined and our deliberate willingness to let something go. To release it from our possession. To be willing and ready for it to no longer occupy us. Forgiveness means letting it go to God. Letting it go from our power to His.
Forgiving is the ongoing act in which we agree with God over the matter, practice the mercy He’s extended to us and surrender the situation, the repercussions and the hurtful person to Him. Too many strongholds are connected to an unwillingness in our hearts to forgive. Left untreated, un-forgiveness becomes spiritual cancer. Bitterness takes root and since the root feeds the rest of the tree, every branch of our lives and every fruit on each limb ultimately becomes poisoned. The bottom line is un-forgiveness makes us sick. Always spiritually. Often emotionally and surprisingly often, physically. As such un-forgiveness qualifies as one of the most powerfully effective forms of bondage in any believer’s life. If you may recall, Jesus taught in one of His many parables. Peter asked the Lord how many times should he forgive his brothers and sisters who sin against him and Jesus replied seventy times seven (Matt 18:21-22). Now, we can understand that God’s unrelenting insistence on our forgiveness is for our own sake, not for the sake of the one who hurt us.
I would like to leave us with the end of the Lord’s Prayer as a reminder for us to take note of the consequential warning of a hardened and unforgiving heart. Where Jesus said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt 6:14-15).
By Juan Hui, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 14&15 November 2015)